Newroz in lyrics: The legacy of Kawa revived in Eyaz Zaxoyî

Daily the serpents would throttle him so abusively that death became a prayer. He would moan and yell with his echoes reaching the top-most peaks. He offered rewards and treasures to everyone and anyone with an end to his agony. Then a sedative was introduced: the brain of men! Two were selected each day to sedate the pain, sacrificed like lambs to the lion.

Six of my boys were given as an antidote to his suffering and after the sixth, the black engulfed my soul and revenge filled my heart. Idleness was no longer an option

– Kawa (Kaveh) the Blacksmith

Newroz is the celebration of light after darkness. It is celebrated on the spring equinox, a time when Kurdistan begins to flourish under the suns’ rays. Widely understood as a time of rebirth and new beginnings, Newroz is a fiery spirit that holds a deep seeded significance within every aspect of Kurdish culture. One of the most prominent outlets widely used to express its significance is that of music.

During latter parts of Kurdish history, music in the form of lyrics and lyrical poetry became the main avenue for expressing the theme of Newroz as it related to the developing Kurdish identity. Poets and writers from Melayê Cizîrî, to Ehmedê Xanî and Pîramerd are well known for their use of the celebration of Newroz – both in myth and the actual celebration – in their written works.

The poetic language of Newroz was also incorporated in musical lyrics and singers from every era have covered this folklore.

Eyaz Zaxoyî, born in Zaxo in 1961 was amongst many who during times of unrest and danger did not stand idle while Kurdistan was facing annihilation. Several writers and poets had written for him, among them: Ebdulezîz SilêmanBedirxan Sindî, and Beşar Mihemed.

Eyaz Zaxoyî is well known for his rendition of the song “Newroz” that poetical plays on the theme as both a symbol of the Kurdish identity and that of a day of celebration. Regularly played at Newroz festivals, his song has become a staple of this day and the celebration it brings.

Every March 21st, he sings in death his song as a dedication to those living and dancing in the new day: **

Newroz hat bi gul û rîhanNewroz is here (bringing) flowers and fragrant plants

Cejna me ya li 21 êOur (Kurdish) holiday on the 21st

Ew Newroza bîka cwanThe beautiful bride that is Newroz

Agrî hil kin li serê rêkêLight the fire at the head of the path (for her)

Yadgar e ji bav û bapîra – An inheritance from our forefathers

Wan şkandî qeyde zincîra(Those) who broke fastened chains

Der kirin rojhelata me(They) brought light to the future/path ahead

Dê rabin hil kin qetîraNow go and light the torch(es)

Newroz hat û roja nî yeNewroz is here and it is a new day

Rengê gula xemlandî yeThe flowers have adorned themselves with colours

Hemî wara dîlan rabîIn every region dancing has sprung

Tev da aheng û kenî yeEveryone is in celebration

Wan jelala av lê bûş eThe waterways are flowing heavily

Seyran li van mila xoş e – Picnics/outdoor celebrations are (filled with) joy in these parts

Kal û rewişt e me KurdaThe ancestry and (cultural) canvas of the Kurds

Cejna Newroz mendehoş eThe celebration of Newroz is a (pleasant) surprise/delight

Newroz hat û roja mêraNewroz is here, the day of men

Milet xwirî wekî şêraThe nation roused like a lion

Rûxandin dûşkinê yara(They/Enemies) destroyed the lovers’ cove

Bilind bî ala dilêra(But) the flag of dedicated lovers has risen

Newrozê hey lê, lê NewrozNewroz, oh Newroz

Tu roja mêrin xwedan sozThe day of men with promise

Dê mînî pêşkûşekî gêşYou will forever remain a sprouted seed (of promise)

Bû me Kurda cejnek pîrozFor the Kurds a celebrated day

As is customary in Kurdish art, there is always a hint of patriotism and an overload of the undying spirit of the Kurdish nation. Several stanzas speak to the rise of the nation after a period of unrest and torment. Other stanzas elevate the need for Kurds to continue their fight against oppression and preach the forward march to freedom.

In death, as he was in his lifetime, Eyaz Zaxoyî is a symbol of the relentless nature of the oppressed against their oppressors. In a time of restriction of expression physically, ideological, and culturally Eyaz decided that idleness was no longer an option and musically paved the path of the Kurds forward.

**Note: Author of the poem above unknown